Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Degree Level



Biomedical Engineering


Rao, Raj


Global health is an interdisciplinary field emphasizing international health issues, causes, and solutions based on cultural and global understanding. We have all witnessed how crucial global health is with the global COVID-19 crisis that has affected everyone. To effectively work to solve global health issues, people from different backgrounds must work together to complete a common goal. Before problem solving begins, gaining a basic understanding of cultural differences and collaborating with different people is an essential skill to have. Previous studies have demonstrated the usefulness of study abroad experiences and international service-learning opportunities in promoting collaborations, cultural competency and personal development. The Biomedical Innovations for Global Impact (BMEG 4593/SEVI4103) course at the University of Arkansas focuses on specific problems triggered by healthcare challenges and gives students the opportunity to work creatively and with students from different countries and disciplines. The course is designed to include students from the United States, Panama, and India. Business and engineering professors instruct students on the importance of the design process during product development and how global health needs impact the process. All students are put on teams with a clinical advisor and consist of students from different majors. At the end of the semester, each interdisciplinary team will present their proposed solution to meet the targeted global health need. This research project will test the effectiveness of the course through pre-course and post-course surveys focused on 4 different areas: cultural understanding, educational experience, personal growth, and professional development. Through use of qualitative and quantitative data, we tested the hypothesis that the course will widen students’ understanding of healthcare disparities and help develop skills for working in interdisciplinary teams to problem solve. Overall, our results indicate that post-course survey responses aligned with high expectations expressed in the pre-course responses with regard to personal growth, educational experience, and professional development. However, there is room for improvement with cross-cultural team dynamics and cultural understanding to develop meaningful biomedical innovations with potential for broad impact.


Global health, international collaboration, project-based learning, product development, health disparities

Available for download on Friday, October 18, 2024